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Elegant Letters, Issue #21 Are you the perfect dinner guest? And Kate Middleton


Good manners: The noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.

– Bennett Cerf”

I remember a story my friend Natalie once told me about how she lost her appetite when the guy sitting in front of her spat out some food on the table. I hope they weren’t on a date.

I hardly think this is a common occurrence except maybe in certain countries where spitting is accepted in its culture. I know in some other countries, to slurp and eat noisily is indicative of ‘enjoying one’s meal’.

Nevertheless, take a minute now and have a think of your own table manners. What do you think of them?

Now, check if you do these things.

Being the Perfect Dinner Guest

I still have my occasional slip ups at the table, but I know the more I’m aware of them, the better I’ll get or rather, the more I’ll be at ease. Remember, table manners are more than using the right fork. It is also about being a perfect guest, learning the art of conversation and learning to be a host yourself.

I was reading a little bit of history of Colonial Africa, as depicted by Karen Blixen in her classic book ‘Out of Africa
‘. In those days without phones, television, the internet and other entertainment sets and gadgets, at that time and in that place (Africa), conversation was a highly prized art. You could spend five days getting to see somebody, and when you went, you were invited to stay the night. You talked and so the better you are at conversation, the more prized guest you’ll be.

The film Out of Africa is really good! Watch it if you can.

If you have any questions about cutlery etiquette, especially when you’re using cutlery of another culture, just ask. Don’t be afraid to ask for a western set if you find it too difficult. Your host is more interested in sharing a meal with you, rather than see you in an awkward state.

I’ve established a new section “The Art of the Table” and will be adding new articles (usually embedded as links within the section page)

Thank you once again for your support (and patience with me and the development of the site where errors abound), they are greatly appreciated!

Warmest regards to you and your family,

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